One of the oldest members of our community died this past week, her name was Marny. A monastic tradition that we hold at the Community of Jesus is the observance of a prayer vigil when one of our members dies. After the wake, the coffin is brought to the church where it remains until the funeral service the following day. As we hold vigil with the body, we pray for the soul of the faithful departed, that they may be granted eternal rest in their heavenly home. We take turns through the night to pray for our friend until she is laid in the ground at her final earthly rest.
While praying for Marny I was asking myself, isn’t this watch care over each others’ souls something we should do for each other every day? Its not just the faithful departed that need our constant prayer, but those we live and work with each day. Jesus teaches us this in his commandment — you shall love your neighbor as yourself. If I want my friends in Christ to help me when I can’t see what might be a stumbling block in my life, I’d better do my best to pray and help them as best I can, for surely I’ll need the return favor! Vigilantly caring for each other is the best sacrifice we can make for one another, and a way to love Christ in each other. It’s this unified body of Christ that allows us to show love, and it’s this love that allows us to catch hopeful glimpses of Christ’s eternal kingdom which is to come.